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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A bad idea

I had written this piece a few months ago, but it's now relevant

The Draft: No Solution to Social Inequality

By Steve Gilliard, AlterNet. Posted November 22, 2006.

Progressives are drawn to Charlie Rangel's call for a draft, but a draft only inducts people. Class determines what job they will be assigned once they are in the military and, often, how happy they will be.

"You bet your life," says Charlie Rangel when asked if he's still prepared to reinstate the draft. With the Democratic takeover of the House, the 18-term representative from New York is slated to chair the powerful Ways and Means Committee giving him a powerful seat from which to push his legislation.

As recently as August, word that the Marines were calling up their last line of reservists had reignited draft chatter for the first time since Rangel's previous draft push during the run up to the 2004 elections. "This move should serve as a wake-up call to America," said Jon Stoltz, former Army captain in Iraq and head of, who called it "proof that our military is overextended," and "one of the last steps before resorting to a draft."

There's a temptation among progressives and liberals to view the draft as a potentially positive force, both in bringing about an end to the war and in evening the playing field in terms of whose children actually have to fight. Unfortunately, to the extent that it ever was true, this simply isn't the case anymore. The draft will only pull more unfortunate men and women from the ranks of the underprivileged and underrepresented.

The Vosges Mountains, Fall, 1944

They had been in classrooms only a few months ago, now they were tramping down some muddy road in a strange place, flinching from explosions. Annoyed by their flinching, someone would explain they were outgoing rounds, nothing to worry about.

Shipped overseas, sent to a replacement depot, greeted with indifference by their new platoon mates, expected to be dead or wounded in a few days, they were infantry and all their problems boiled down to surviving the German Army. Thousands would find themselves in Belgium, France, Italy, the Pacific, fighting on the front lines.


posted by Steve @ 11:04:00 AM

11:04:00 AM

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